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I won’t mince words, Ultimate Philley’s looked like a shithole.

It’s on the “wrong” side of the 805, in the no man’s land between that and the 15, and it almost looks like a pawn shop or a sketchy cell phone store for drug dealers. The combination of decoration and location is more The Wire, than Food Network, a fact accentuated by the misspelled name of the store, neither “philly” nor “phillies.” Also, why the possessive? Maybe the place is owned by a Phillip “Philley Boy” Gutierrez, or some such character. There was even this weird, gigantic sandwich wrapped in plastic and suspended over the door on the "grand opening" sign. I climbed up, poked and prodded at it, and I think it was real food that had been allowed to desiccate. Weird.

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It was cramped inside--my friend said there was “too much going on’’--with a handful of friendly, albeit bewildered, employees behind the counter and just enough space to turn around in the minute dining area. Much better to occupy the lone table outside, even though at least one prostitute is likely to cruise by with an affectionate greeting and a suggestive look.

At $8.99, the 12” “ultimate philley ribeye” came with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and my choice of mozz or Whiz. It was, without question, the ugliest sandwich I’ve been served on the Tour. It made the Philly Grill’s haphazard sandwich construction look artful. The meat exploded out of the squashed and toasted bread in all directions. The Whiz ran over everything and it was impossible to eat without enlisting a fork.

But it was pretty good! I managed to get my hands on a few hot peppers to go with it. There was tons of savory, well-seasoned meat and veggies inside. It looked like crap and it was a trial to consume, but I finally got the overabundance of greasy, cheezy, salty, shaved steak that I’d been looking for. I daresay the cracked out ambiance actually added a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole experience.

The $5.99, 8” version would have been nourishment enough, so Ultimate Philley’s has value on its side. Anyone who hates cheesesteak (why are you reading this?) should totally get the $3.99 all-day breakfast special that has eggs, pancakes, toast, and bacon. Eating pancakes after dark on a sketchy city sidewalk would be poetic.

3383 El Cajon Boulevard
619-272-4629
M-Th 11-8
Fr-Sat 11-9

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Comments
1

That cheese steak was BOMB! These guys are my favorite neighborhood grub shack. I get the cheese steak and my brother gets the $4 burger. I've never tried the burger but it comes in $2, $4, and $6 versions and he loves each that much more. Jonathan puts some real love into the food he makes for you and it comes out in the flavor as fresh, quality ingredients come together to make the best cheese steak I know.

June 28, 2013

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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